2008 Heineken Cup Final
|Event||2007–08 Heineken Cup|
|Date||24 May 2008|
|Venue||Millennium Stadium, Cardiff|
|Man of the Match||Alan Quinlan (Munster)|
|Referee||Nigel Owens (Wales)|
The 2008 Heineken Cup Final was the final match of the 2007–08 Heineken Cup, the 13th season of Europe's top club rugby union competition. The match was played on 24 May 2008 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. The match was contested by Munster of Ireland and Toulouse of France. Munster won their second Heineken Cup title with a 16–13 win.
Munster did not play in their traditional red strip as they lost the toss - they wore blue - although they were in the same away dressing room as they were in 2006.
Fans gathered in Place du Capitole in Toulouse, and on O'Connell Street in Limerick, where they watched the match on a large screen.
Munster coach Declan Kidney, who guided the province to all their previous Heineken Cup final named an unchanged team for his final game in charge before he took over the Ireland national team. Toulouse the Heineken Cup winners in 1996, 2003 and 2005 had two changes from their semi-final victory over London Irish at Twickenham, with Maleli Kunavore partnering Yannick Jauzion in the centre and the French international flanker Thierry Dusautoir replaced Yannick Nyanga. Byron Kelleher was declared match fit just in time for the kickoff.
The final was hosted at the neutral Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, and refereed by Welsh referee Nigel Owens. Toulouse kicked off and managed to regain possession. Toulouse dominated the early parts of the game, and although they missed a penalty goal five minutes into the game, scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Élissalde successfully kicked a drop goal after eight minutes to give them a 3–0 lead. Toulouse continued to dominate territory but Munster winger Doug Howlett made a break in the 29th minute setting up a ruck close to the Toulouse try-line. Munster number eight Denis Leamy then broke from a ruck and attempted to place the ball over the try-line, but lost it forward in the process. From the resulting scrum, Toulouse were pushed off their own ball and Munster gained possession from which Leamy scored. The try was converted by Ronan O'Gara to give Munster a 7–3 lead after 33 minutes. Three minutes later, Munster were awarded a penalty after Toulouse captain Fabien Pelous was caught not rolling away in the ruck. O'Gara kicked the penalty to extend Munster's lead to 10–3. On the 40-minute mark, Leamy was penalised for going into a ruck off his feet and Élissalde kicked the penalty to reduce Munster's lead to four points at half-time.
Ten minutes into the second half, Munster centre Rua Tipoki threw a pass that would have given a try to Howlett, but the pass was deemed forward. One minute later Toulouse's Pelous kicked Munster flanker Alan Quinlan after Quinlan had stood on Pelous' hand. After the intervention of touch judge Nigel Whitehouse, Pelous was shown a yellow card for his part in the incident and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. O'Gara kicked Munster's resulting penalty to give his team a 13–6 lead after 51 minutes. Three minutes later, Toulouse fullback Cédric Heymans threw the ball into himself, then kicked ahead before collecting his own kick. He then chipped ahead which Toulouse's Yannick Jauzion kicked once more before wing Yves Donguy grounded the ball to give Toulouse a try. Elissalde converted the try to tie the scores at 13–13 after 54 minutes. Pelous returned from the sin-bin in the 61st minute, and four minutes later was penalised yet again for not rolling away in the ruck. O'Gara kicked the penalty which gave Munster a 16–13 lead. For most of the remaining time, Munster employed the pick-and-go technique, where the forwards would drive the ball from ruck to ruck in an effort to retain possession and use up time. Munster were penalised in the 78th minute after 17 phases of play; the ball was kicked downfield by Toulouse who counter-attacked. Munster turned the ball over, however, and won a kickable penalty with ten seconds left on the clock. Referee Nigel Owens stopped the clock until the penalty was taken; because of the risk of Toulouse recovering possession, the options of kicking for goal and kicking for touch were ruled out. Instead, Ronan O'Gara tapped the penalty and went into contact. With the ten seconds used up, the ball became unplayable in the collapsed maul, Owens blew the final whistle, and Munster had won 16–13.
24 May 2008
|Munster||16 – 13||Toulouse|
|Try: Leamy 33' c
Pen: O'Gara (3) 36', 51', 65'
|Report||Try: Donguy 54' c
Pen: Élissalde 40+1'
Drop: Élissalde 9'
Man of the Match:
Munster received their medals, and performed a lap of honour to the song "Stand' Up and Fight".
- Standley, James (24 May 2008). "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
- RTÉ Sport Archived 27 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
- The Scotsman
- The Telegraph
- The Guardian
- "Rugby review of the year 2008: 10 highlights". The Daily Telegraph. London. 16 December 2008.
- The Telegraph Rugby review of the year 2008: 10 highlights http://www.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/story/96890.html ESPN
- Scotland on Sunday
- SkySports Match Commentary Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Orlovac, Mark (24 May 2008). "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
- Standley, James (24 May 2008). "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
- Hands, David (26 May 2008). "Munster secure second Heineken Cup title". The Times. London: Times Newspapers. Retrieved 26 May 2008.